Monday, February 24, 2020

65th birthday burpees challenge

Last week Pierini Fitness had a birthday so he’s now a bona-fide 65-year young middle-aged man.  Thus far, I’ve been blessed with good health and wellness and for this, I’m most grateful.  I know it could all change in a heartbeat and take nothing for granted.

I’m quite proud of my current fitness level but must always be on guard that I’m also humble about it.  One way I keep my humbleness is by regularly stepping up to the plate and doing a quick burpees workout.  I find 100 burpees for time is one way to keep me very humble.

On my 65th birthday, I did just that with a birthday burpees challenge of 100 burpees for time.  My approach was to perform 5 burpees every 35 seconds for 17 rounds and then a final round of 15 burpees.  My time was 12:02; not great but good enough for a newly crowned 65-year old man.

I prefer doing 100 burpees for time this way – shorter rep rounds using a fixed time interval rather than going by my intuition gut.  Once I’m able to complete all rounds within this fixed time interval, I then drop the time interval by one second.  My mind and body are more likely to be willing to cooperate with this subtle change.  I call this method of progression “measured coaxing.”

My current 100 burpees for time journey has a Summer 2020 time destination of 10:00 or less.  It’ll take consistent and hard work for me to accomplish this goal.  First up is completing 100 burpees in 11:00 or less.  I hope to accomplish this by the first day of Spring 2020, about one month from now.

When I’m an old man sitting in a rocking chair crapping my pants, I’ll always remember my 65th birthday burpees challenge.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Friday, February 14, 2020

Do 100 burpees

Good Friday greetings to all Pierini Fitness sports fans.  It’s been one week exactly since my last post.  This is the time of the year when I work more hours and am therefore challenged in other departments, such as fitness and adding new content here.

My workouts are still taking place but they’re shorter.  One way to take full advantage of a shortened workout is to make sure there’s intensity.  I’m doing this by doing burpees; they’re never easy.

Right now, I’m focused on trying to complete 100 burpees in 11 minutes or less.  I’m not quite there yet but am moving in the right direction.

A couple days ago, after a quick 100 burpees workout, I bumped into an acquaintance at the post office who deduced by my appearance and lingering panting for breathing that I had just finished a challenging workout.  I described the workout I had just completed.  He then asked me why I do burpees to which I replied is that they keep me humble.

Hopefully, soon I’ll have something to share and hopefully it’ll be that I met my short-term goal of completing 100 burpees in 11 minutes or less.  Despite how busy I currently am, I’ll always have enough time available to do 100 burpees.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Friday, February 7, 2020

An aging elitist

How to live forever is a popular topic of interest as evidenced by the sheer volume of articles and research devoted to it.  On any given day, there’s no shortage of reading material to cherry-pick and read about this subject.

A recent article in the New York Times reported that American life expectancy increased for the first time in four years in 2018.  It finally rebounded after three successive years of decline as a result of an opioid abuse epidemic. 

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics, lower mortality from cancer, accidents and unintentional injuries explained the average life expectancy uptick for 2018, now at 78.7 years at birth.  While considered good news, American life expectancy is still less than most European countries.  

Meanwhile, to the delight of those wanting to live longer than ever before imaginable, aging-longevity influencers are adding new reading and viewing content to their blogs and websites at a blistering pace.  

Dr. Peter Attia, M.D. is one influencer whose content focuses on the science of longevity.  Among his many works is The 5 tactics in the longevity toolkit.

Dr. Rhonda Patrick, Ph.D. is another influencer who’s always adding new aging-longevity content to her FoundMyFitness website.  From autophagy, caloric restriction, epigenetic aging clocks, fasting and more, she offers a “ton of content” for the Ponce de Leon wannabe’s chasing their eternal fountains of youth.  The link between Metformin use and longevity seems to be one of her current topics of interest.

There are countless others who are devoting significant energy to the aging-longevity agenda, in the research they conduct, articles they publish and speeches they deliver to a captive “preaching to the choir” audience of Centrum Silver folks, and younger people too.

Hollywood actor and entertainer George Burns was able to reach the centenarian mark without the benefit of these modern-day aging-longevity influencers.  He did it thanks to daily exercise of swimming, walking, sit-ups and push-ups.  He also enjoyed smoking cigars and buying a new Cadillac every year.  Of course, his genetics obviously helped.

Kirk Douglas, another Hollywood actor, who recently passed away at age 103 years, also reached and surpassed the centenarian entry age.  He was interviewed at age 100 years and attributed his longevity to a wonderful, six decades long at the time, marriage.  Although his parents didn't live as long as he did, his genetics obviously helped.

A couple psychology professors conducted eight decades of research known as The Longevity Project that’s also the title of a book they wrote.  Their study of over 1,500 Americans for over 80 years pinpointed why some people live longer than others.  Being physically active, working hard and accomplishing desired results, challenging yourself and surpassing the limits you’ve set.  Being socially active with family and friends, having a good marriage and staying friendly with healthy people were also identified.

Meanwhile, another recent article appearing in the Financial Post had a catchy title “Treating aging like a disease is the next big thing for science.  The article quotes another longevity influencer, Peter Diamandis, who has said “The average human health span will increase by 10+ years this decade.”  He points to a dozen game-changing biotech and pharmaceutical solutions, including stem cell supply restoration and others that are beyond my middle-aged man meathead pay grade to comprehend.

This aging-longevity fascination is unbelievable!

Pierini Fitness is not yet ready to join the crowd that considers aging a disease.  He believes it’s a blessing, the gracefully aging version, because there are positive benefits from experiencing it.  By embracing it, we’ll be less likely to experience death bed resentment of why all the things we did to appreciably prolong our lives didn’t work.

Some might suggest there’s no downside to the elixir of hope, even if it’s false hope and this point is well taken.  It’s hard for them not to be mesmerized and tantalized by hope, of any kind, that their eventual meeting with the Grim Reaper will be much further away from their now than previously contemplated.  

Ponce de Leon never figured it out over 500 years ago and I don’t think most of us will either.  The elixir from the Fountain of Youth will continue escaping both of us in that we’ll likely not live as long as we’d like. Obesity, brought on by an opulent and gluttonous lifestyle many Americans live, brings on many of the maladies shortening life expectancy. 

Perhaps the solution is something simple like using duct tape covering the food eaten point of entry immediately after a necessary and sensible amount of food has been eaten.

None of this considers a proven American reality that those occupying higher socioeconomic groups have a statistically greater chance of reaching age 100 years than other groups.  Simply stated:  For life expectancy, money matters.

This, according to an article titled the same appearing in the Harvard Gazette on April 11, 2016, deserves our attention:

A Harvard analysis of 1.4 billion Internal Revenue Service records on income and life expectancy that showed staggering differences in life expectancy between the richest and poorest also found evidence that low-income residents in wealthy areas, such as New York City and San Francisco, have life expectancies significantly longer than those in poorer regions.”

The article also notes that access to health care is less of a contributing factor.  

So, we need to spend time improving our financial prosperity and the quality of the social circles we frequent.  

We need to spend time pursuing and “training” to be an aging elitist.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Fitness and nutrition bullshit

Today is the 36th day of this 2020 new year.  Already, undoubtedly, some middle-age men might be showing signs of weakness and pondering thoughts of abandoning their New Year 2020 fitness, health and wellness goals. 

It’s the nature of a middle-age man beast when the going gets tough; abandon the mission once the honeymoon ends and look for a new one that’ll tantalize and invigorate you.  I have, in the past, succumbed to this temptation.  Trust me, it’s a recipe for unsuccess.

Early last year, I shared what’s needed in these moments, calling them the pillars of strength, desire, discipline, patience and perseverance.  If you missed this pearl of wisdom reflection, consider reading what I wrote here:

Unfortunately, there’s no secret beyond these attributes, yet in moments of weakness, we might be tempted to looking elsewhere for something that might be easier; surfing the internet, talking to others, looking high and low for that needle in the haystack solution that’ll give us some relief from the daily grind drudgery, we now call it, we began with zeal slightly over one month ago.

Our imaginary visions are still possible of being a studly middle-age man by Summer 2020, prancing around the beach shirtless and wearing a pair of colorful speedos, sporting a killer middle-age man tan with a full head of silver streaked locks blowing in the wind thanks to a pleasant and warm summer breeze.

If only the effort getting us there was as easy and pleasant like the results.

Summer 2020 arrives in 136 days.  This vision is still achievable but only with daily and persistent hard work.  Abandonment isn’t a solution that’ll get us there, provided that which we started is a well thought-out and sensible action plan.  There are no quick fixes, only hard work fueled with incessant desire, discipline, patience and perseverance.

Don’t abandon your fitness, health and wellness ship.  Stay on course in the choppy waters of the sea towards your destination.  

Double down your efforts and avoid all fitness and nutrition bullshit.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Monday, February 3, 2020

Our muscles won't grow

It’s challenging and maybe bordering on next to impossible for us middle-age men to add muscle mass to our manly bodies; yes, it can be a tall chore.  More likely than not, the girth we gain while living the good life and gracefully aging is fat.

No brag, just fact.

So, while we may work our tails off to keep our bodyweight stable, our body composition is likely changing.  The 170-lbs. sinewy teenager we once were, sporting 88 percent lean body mass and 12 percent bodyfat, may now be a 170-lbs. middle-age man sporting a "dad bod" of 75 percent lean body mass and 25 percent bodyfat.

Muscle atrophy syndrome strikes!  

My internet surfing tells me there are three types of muscle atrophy – physiologic, pathologic and neurogenic.  We’re more likely to be afflicted with physiologic and pathologic muscle atrophy as middle-age men as we march forward towards old manhood.

Physiologic muscle atrophy, caused by not using the muscles enough, can be reversed or mitigated by progressive resistance exercises and smarter eating.

Pathologic muscle atrophy, caused by aging, starvation, and certain diseases, is more difficult to deal with but, like physiologic muscle atrophy, can be mitigated somewhat by the same progressive resistance exercises and smart eating.

Neurogenic muscle atrophy – caused from an injury or a nerve-related disease - is severe and reversing or mitigating it may not be possible.

I’m doing my best to mitigate my physiologic and pathologic muscle atrophy with the fitness training and the foods I eat.  Time will tell as time goes on how good a job I’ve done.  I’m sure you’re doing the same.

So, while we view horrific visual reminders of our manly muscular bodies withering away during morning encounters with our favorite bathroom mirrors, despite our stellar fitness training and nutrition, perhaps there’s some middle-age man comfort in the good news that atrophy doesn’t strike two parts of our bodies.  In fact, they keep growing!  While these two body parts aren’t muscle, their continuing growth provides a consolidation while the rest of our body is withering away.

We should take whatever growth we can get, so long as it’s not bodyfat growth!

Yes, this is good news.  Each new day, our ears and nose continue growing even though our muscles won’t grow.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum